let us resolve

May you, like the bamboo, flourish in all weathers and conditions. May you love and be loved. May you exercise more and lose all that weight. May you control your substance abuse but not your loved ones, make lots of money, find a new career and attain your heart's content.
Progress report for 2010:
I did exercise and lose a lot of weight.
I stopped and started (and stopped and started etc.) drinking.
What do you resolve for 2011?


Back in New York today after Baby's First Christmas. I think my friend from Brazil speaks for all us new grannies (though using rather novel pronunciation and spelling) in the e mail I received today:
"Happy new year for you all.........I'm very happy and buzy with my son new baby in my house. she so sweet (when not cry ) ,,,love to just look at her ,hold she on my army is great ......she back her home yesterday ,,,I'm already miss her   ......will see her tomorrow for the new year night,,,,i get the email from Hannan foto with her baby,,...nice,pls say hello to her n Cris...........................love"


visions of sugarplums

Nothing was stirring, not even a. . . Wait, those are not mice—they're sugarplums! Cherries dipped in chocolate and glued to Kisses with almond-sliver ears.
    They still like cheese, though.


cold enough for you?

That's what folk used to say: "Cold enough for you?"
And the correct answer was
a) For me to do what?
b) Isn't it just!
c) It was colder in the winter of '45.
d) Nah, I like it colder.
e) I reckon.
I ask you: "Cold enough for you?"


let it snow

Haven't been out sledding—yet another cold—but can't think of a better place to be snowed in (except possibly New York City) than Main Street, Woonsocket. Apparently the wind blew 80 mph on Block Island last night and took out the power, leaving  lot of people shivering (oil furnaces need electricity too) and the road I live on eaten away in front of the Beachhead. I daresay a lot of people who didn't drain their pipes in the fall will be wishing they had. Missouri probably got hit, too.
   Meanwhile, we're hunkered down, nursing our colds, a pot of stew on the stove and leftover Christmas treats and a baby to play with.  What could be bad?


Looks like the Christmas star is leading us over to Block Island. But no, didn't detrain here at New London but kept going to a snowy Providence, Stanley burger in Pawtucket. . .
. . . and home to Woonsocket to wrap some more presents.


every picture tells a story

There used to be something called a picture story. It was a thing of very few words, with captions and headlines and something called the text block. You were meant to be able to follow it by just reading headlines and looking at pictures. This kind of story pretty much died along with Life magazine, but lately it's been resurrected by some ex-LIFEers at American History magazine.  I've done a few this past year, including the one above. Appropriate, since Rockwell used to draw for Life, though more for Look. That's the first of four spreads. Didn't think you could stomach the whole thing.
     And now, off to Woonsocket!


solstice eclipse

O the moon. For the first time in nearly four centuries, a total eclipse occurred at the winter solstice. I am sure a druid or Wiccan could make something of this. We watched a bit from the roof in the howling wind, and more from the back bathroom, standing on the toilet with our heads out the window. It was quite a sight. My photographic skills were not up to the challenge, however.
    How many of you all were up at three in the acka emma?


beginning to look like

photo by Kathleen Mock
I was told that the granny makes the stockings. OK then. In the interim (of many years) since I last crocheted or knitted, I had forgotten how dismissive the owners of yarn stores  are. You would think they would be warm and fuzzy, but no. I don't know whether they don't like strangers, or crocheters or whether it's me, but you have to practically plead with them to bring their noses down to your level and sell you anything. Merry Christmas to you too, KnittyCity!


lo riders

One more: The Explorettes reune at the Explorers Club.


how do you pronounce Cai Guo Qiang?

They come from all over the web, often from college campuses, to Claudia's Surf City to find out the answer to one burning question:
how to pronounce Cai Guo Qiang, the name of the genius from Fujian in China who makes art of fireworks, stuffed wolves, hung cars, boats, maps and a myriad other things that just come into his head and then out of it.  I saw his show at the Guggenheim in 2008 (as well as a firework fizzle in Central Park earlier).
   While not a native speaker, I think this is an approximation of the pronunciation. Enjoy.

Check this out on Chirbit



 I loved the census statistics put into map form in the New York Times yesterday. It seems that I live in one of the richest neighborhoods and one of the poorest in the country, both very white. Here is some of what I learned about Oregon County in Missouri.
people making over $200,000 a year:      1%
people making under $30,000  a year:   57%
people with a college degree  or higher:  3%
people of color:                                         0%
Unmarried single sex couples                   1%
medium monthly rent:                          $394
Unfortunately, no correlation was made about the number of meth labs in any given area. If you would like to watch the numbers crunch about your part of the USA, check out the census data link .


then there were roses

. . .and stray items of clothing, shopping bags, scraps of gift wrap, and lots and lots of towels.


bon voyage

The last of the people sleeping on Chien-Chi's couch and all over the living room floor are leaving today. Michele is already home in her Paris, hopefully bearing "le junk food" and the other things on Axell's list. For Michele it was a marathon trip that began with 24 hours snowed in in the Paris airport and ended at a 9:30 a.m. meeting at work, with most of the time between  sans suitcase. It was totally fab to be able to spend time with my family and friends this past week, and I am so grateful to those who made the trips from France and Brazil and Santa Fe and Sausalito and Massachusetts and Rhode Island.


thank you

Thanks for all the birthday surprises! Love the bear!


they gather

The young ones and the old ones. The spry and the halt. The beautiful and the—wait! They're all beautiful! And we'll be gathering in all our great beauty and diversity tomorrow to celebrate our mutual exploration of life. L'chaim!



OK, so you read yesterday where I was resigned to the absence of certain parties due to infirmity and deadlines.
   Imagine my surprise when I opened the door to find—omigawd! My progenitor and my wicked stepmother, who specifically said they could not travel. It proves that my daughter and my sister had also been keeping this news from me. Which does explain, in retrospect certain unusual behaviors. . .
    Talk about a birthday surprise!



The tapestry of life, indeed. Lina (and her shopping list) made it in from Rio de Janeiro today, but Michele only got as far as the airport in Paris, where there is a big snowstorm. "It is a big mess: nô flights, nô taxi, very few subway," she messaged. "I guess in Alaska they know How to deal with that but not here..." Tomorrow, houseguests pile in from Woonsocket and California. The Alabama contingent passed on account of a book going to print next week (above!) and old age (good excuse). Others had to pass on account of visas to Burma (not as good) or their cat's health (hmm) or penury (so what else is new). The hosts are being felled by head colds, but hopefully we will be well, um, tomorrow, and still have a nice 87 head or so for the International Gala on Saturday. Assuming Michele makes it. Does it count as an international gala if only one person comes from abroad?

PS Need I remind you to click on this pic (or the one below) to see more clearly?


class pic

Here they are, the Reporting I class at Lehman College, with their profesora. I think I may have convinced them that beauty blogging is more lucrative than whatever it is I do. . .


Today I go to the Bronx to talk about blogging to a bunch of college students. I know what a blog is—I have been writing this one for almost six years, before most people had heard of blogging.
Blogging. Weird word.
The tabs above the little frame that I write in make it all easy. They are Posting, Comments, Settings, Design, Monetize, and Stats. I have figured out everything but Monetize.
Oh well, maybe next year! 


a small world

. . .but it's about to get bigger.


the venue

Tommy V checks out the acoustics at the Explorers Club, while I plan a menu and agree to pay a small fortune for the Party of the Half Century (well, half century plus one decade). Each table, chair, fireplace log, candle, coatcheck person, security guard, piece of sushi and "passed hors d'oeuvre" has its price.
    But think of the savings when I cancel my membership (after 15 years) the following month!


a merry little workout

The Christmas trees are on the street now. I can see them from the stationary bike in the gym. Are you ready for Christmas? It's only like three weeks away, and I'm so not prepared.
What do you have to do?


new york times diagramless

I thought about leaving this page in the Sunday magazine section just casually flipped open in the hall for when the men pick up the trash, but they might not even notice that I totally and completely finished the diagramless crossword puzzle. In ink. In one night before bed. Lying down. I'm almost as bucked by this as the first time I cracked a cryptogram. Alas, sudoku still eludes me. . .